INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier is all set to become a maritime museum. After it was decomissioned in March 2017, it was kept in the Mumbai harbour dock. But now it’s going to serve a better purpose by being converted into a maritime museum with facilities like sailing, scuba diving and maritime training.
INS Viraat’s conversion into India’s first-ever maritime museum-cum-marine adventure centre, has been approved by the Maharashtra state cabinet and is finally underway. The majestic maritime museum, is going to be set up in Sindhudurg district in the coastal Konkan belt of Maharashtra. Retired ship of INS Viraat that was bought in 1986, will soon join the fleet of the seven aircraft carriers to have been converted into museums, theme parks and luxury hotels in India.
The defense ministry will also be reached out for an approval before the museum features facilities related to the marine world, audio-visual programmes, a virtual hall showcasing marine history among many other attractions. We hope unlike INS Vikrant that had served as a museum ship in South Mumbai till 2012 before it was sold as scrap in 2014, INS Viraat turns into a big attraction for travellers from across the world.
An estimate of Rs 852 crore is being kept aside for the ambitious project. This is Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s gift to the people of the state as he completes four years in office heading the BJP-Shiv Sena saffron alliance government.
INS Viraat is a Guinness record holder for being the longest-serving warship of the world; it served for 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy. The ship was instrumental during Operation Parakram between India and Pakistan as it was during the Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operation. Its last operational deployment was for participation in International Fleet Review in February 2016, and is a great source of pride for the country.